Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2016

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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96 PRESEASON 2016 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY LOU SOMOGYI O n Oct. 19, 1936, the Associated Press began the first official weekly poll during a college football season. Head coach Elmer Layden's Notre Dame unit debuted at No. 7 with its 3‑0 start — and then was promptly trounced 26‑0 at No. 9 Pitt five days later. Consequently, it fell out of the then top 20 rankings, but rebounded to finish No. 8 with a 6‑2‑1 final record. To commemorate its 80th year in the college football polling business, the AP released this Aug. 2 its best all‑time programs from its 1,103 total polls taken. The tabulation was based on three factors: 1. One point is awarded for every appearance in the poll (be it No. 1 or No. 25). The AP had a top 20 from 1936‑61, only a top 10 from 1962‑67, went back to a top 20 in 1968 (the first year it permanently went to deciding national titles after bowl games were played), and then in 1989 expanded to a top 25. In all, 165 different teams have been ranked. 2. A program receives two points for each week that it was ranked No. 1. Forty‑four have advanced at one point of a season to the summit. 3. Finally, 10 points were earned for an AP national title, of which 25 different teams have won. The Fighting Irish finished third through the first 80 years with 1,042 points. The point breakdown as follows: • Of the 1,103 polls released, Notre Dame was in 766 of them (69.45 per‑ cent) to earn 766 points. One could argue that this system is not fairly balanced because a No. 2 ranking in a week counts the same as a No. 25 rating — but that's part of the contro‑ versy that often occurs with any poll. • The Fighting Irish have been ranked No. 1 in 98 weeks, thus earn‑ ing 196 points. Since 1994, though, the only times it was at the top were the final two weeks of the 2012 regu‑ lar season. • With eight AP national titles — 1943, '46, '47, '49, '66, '73, '77 and '88 — Notre Dame added 80 more points. Only Alabama has more AP national championship with 10 — four of them in the past seven years — while Oklahoma is third with seven. Because the AP poll began in 1936, it meant that the Knute Rockne Half of Notre Dame's eight Associated Press national titles were won by head coach Frank Leahy's dynasty in the 1940s. The four championships occurred in 1943, '46, '47 and '49. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME MEDIA RELATIONS Irish No. 3 In All-Time AP Poll ND's body of work outweighs only two top‑10 finishes since 1994

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